Browse Definitions :
Definition

dielectric material

 

A dielectric material is a substance that is a poor conductor of electricity, but an efficient supporter of electrostatic field s. If the flow of current between opposite electric charge poles is kept to a minimum while the electrostatic lines of flux are not impeded or interrupted, an electrostatic field can store energy. This property is useful in capacitor s, especially at radio frequencies. Dielectric materials are also used in the construction of radio-frequency transmission lines.

In practice, most dielectric materials are solid. Examples include porcelain (ceramic), mica, glass, plastics, and the oxides of various metals. Some liquids and gases can serve as good dielectric materials. Dry air is an excellent dielectric, and is used in variable capacitors and some types of transmission lines. Distilled water is a fair dielectric. A vacuum is an exceptionally efficient dielectric.

An important property of a dielectric is its ability to support an electrostatic field while dissipating minimal energy in the form of heat. The lower the dielectric loss (the proportion of energy lost as heat), the more effective is a dielectric material. Another consideration is the dielectric constant , the extent to which a substance concentrates the electrostatic lines of flux. Substances with a low dielectric constant include a perfect vacuum, dry air, and most pure, dry gases such as helium and nitrogen. Materials with moderate dielectric constants include ceramics, distilled water, paper, mica, polyethylene, and glass. Metal oxides, in general, have high dielectric constants.

The prime asset of high-dielectric-constant substances, such as aluminum oxide, is the fact that they make possible the manufacture of high-value capacitors with small physical volume. But these materials are generally not able to withstand electrostatic fields as intense as low-dielectric-constant substances such as air. If the voltage across a dielectric material becomes too great -- that is, if the electrostatic field becomes too intense -- the material will suddenly begin to conduct current. This phenomenon is called dielectric breakdown . In components that use gases or liquids as the dielectric medium, this condition reverses itself if the voltage decreases below the critical point. But in components containing solid dielectrics, dielectric breakdown usually results in permanent damage.

This was last updated in November 2010
SearchCompliance
  • ISO 31000 Risk Management

    The ISO 31000 Risk Management framework is an international standard that provides businesses with guidelines and principles for ...

  • pure risk

    Pure risk refers to risks that are beyond human control and result in a loss or no loss with no possibility of financial gain.

  • risk reporting

    Risk reporting is a method of identifying risks tied to or potentially impacting an organization's business processes.

SearchSecurity
  • Pretty Good Privacy (PGP)

    Pretty Good Privacy or PGP was a popular program used to encrypt and decrypt email over the internet, as well as authenticate ...

  • email security

    Email security is the process of ensuring the availability, integrity and authenticity of email communications by protecting ...

  • Blowfish

    Blowfish is a variable-length, symmetric, 64-bit block cipher.

SearchHealthIT
SearchDisasterRecovery
  • What is risk mitigation?

    Risk mitigation is a strategy to prepare for and lessen the effects of threats faced by a business.

  • fault-tolerant

    Fault-tolerant technology is a capability of a computer system, electronic system or network to deliver uninterrupted service, ...

  • synchronous replication

    Synchronous replication is the process of copying data over a storage area network, local area network or wide area network so ...

SearchStorage
  • direct access

    In computer storage, direct access is the process of reading and writing data on a storage device by going directly to where the ...

  • kibi, mebi, gibi, tebi, pebi and exbi

    Kibi, mebi, gibi, tebi, pebi and exbi are binary prefix multipliers that, in 1998, were approved as a standard by the ...

  • holographic storage (holostorage)

    Holographic storage is computer storage that uses laser beams to store computer-generated data in three dimensions.

Close